Citrus Freeze Damage Expected,
A second night of cold temperatures is expected to leave behind some damage
to the Valley's citrus crop. Although the extent of damage cannot be
known for certain at this time, the industry along with county and state
regulators will begin assessments as early as next week.
In the majority of the Valley's citrus producing areas temperatures dropped
to critical levels as early as 5:00 p.m. last night for mandarins and 8:00 p.m.
for navels and lemons. However, a strong inversion layer and breezy
conditions helped keep temperatures manageable with frost protection
measures. On average, temperatures steadied around 27 degrees. The
navel crop will likely see some damage, but the high sugar content of the fruit
at this point of the season should provide extra internal fruit protection and
keep damage levels minimal.
The Valley's lemon crop, too, should see very minimal damage. Lemon
producing areas along the coast have not been affected by cold weather so far
The mandarin crop is another story. The less cold tolerant variety
will see more damage, but again the extent of which cannot be determined at
this time. Some isolated areas experienced temperatures in the low 20s in
which cases a greater degree of damage is expected. The most damage will
surface in border rows, where the fruit has a greater exposure to cold
temperatures and is less protected by frost protection measures.
Overall, field reports are bullish that the crop will escape this cold
spell without critical damage. The industry does not anticipate that the level
of damage will have any dramatic impacts to supply or price. The primary
concern at this point is to ensure that only high quality fruit makes its way
to the consumer.
At this point of the season, 80% of the mandarin crop and 75% of the navel
crop remain to be harvested. California Citrus Mutual estimates the total cost
of frost protection across the industry at $12.4 million over the course of two
This cold weather front is expected to stay in the
valley through the weekend. A forecast of rain may also pose a challenge
if temperatures stay below freezing. The compound effect of multiple
nights below subfreezing temperatures will certainly weaken the fruit, but the
industry will continue running water and wind machines to minimize damage to
the extent possible.
Labels: California Citrus Mutual Reports Possible Freeze Damage, citrus, Freeze damage